Doomsday Clock #9 Annotated, Part 2: Charlton Heroes, Headquarters & Firestorm Fiction

Odds And Ends (Pages 8, 14-15, 20, 28-30)

He's got the whole Moon in his hands
Kyle Rayner traps the Crime Syndicate, from JLA: Earth 2

Page 8 checks in with the despondent Rorschach II. "You see what you want to see" is a callback to issue #4, where Byron "Mothman" Lewis tells Reggie "I see what I want to see [and] what I see is what is."

Page 14 shows the Green Lanterns sealing off Mars with a power-ringed forcefield, not unlike Kyle Rayner's power-ringed prison around the Crime Syndicate's lunar headquarters in 2000's JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel.

Professor Stein is "visible" on Page 15, Panel 6. That's par for the course in ordinary Firestorm appearances, but it's the first time we've seen such a thing in D-Clock. It does run counter to the Watchmen-inspired formalism which limits what's on-panel to what a regular observer would see. In other words, since nobody else would see Professor Stein in this way, the reader wouldn't either.

Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman created Doctor Fate (Page 20) for May 1940's More Fun Comics issue #55. We would have listed him along with the other super-folks in the space flotilla, except we're not sure he came to Mars with them.

Speaking of Watchmen formalism, pages 28-30 get away from the 9-panel grid. Starting with the bottom tier of Page 28, there are four panels per row; and Page 30 ends with what may be a new-to-either-series layout. We read this as a further slide into chaos, and it freaks us out a little.

Faux-Rigin Story (Pages 24-25, Text Pages)

Imagine what he could have designed *without* the booze
Martin Stein sees both sides, from Firestorm #1

Page 25 is an almost-complete rewrite of the classic Firestorm origin from March 1978's Firestorm issue #1 and July 1986's Secret Origins issue #2. As told therein, Martin Stein designed the Hudson Nuclear facility as the world's first completely automated nuclear power plant. It was the culmination of his life's work and represented the overcoming of both personal and professional obstacles. When Stein's ex-colleague Danton Black got an injunction delaying the plant's opening, Stein disobeyed it, having put up with too many delays already. Unfortunately, a group of terrorists led by one Eddie Earhart set off explosives inside the plant, creating an explosion of radiation which transformed Stein and Ronnie Raymond (Earhart's unwitting dupe) into Firestorm.

While D-Clock's account of Firestorm's origin leans heavily on this classic version (as opposed to the "Firestorm Protocols" of the New 52), there's no real way to reconcile the two. As related by creators Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom (and penciller George Tuska in the Secret Origins version), Ronnie went to the power plant to try and impress his girlfriend by doing something socially conscious, and Stein was a frustrated physicist with a drinking problem and a failed (and childless) marriage. There was no hint of intrigue with regard to either man. The best explanation we can come up with is that the changes are an unintended consequence of Doctor Manhattan's timeline shenanigans.

Speaking of which, if Page 24 establishes that March 1978's Firestorm issue #1 took place seven-ish years ago, and there's an overall modern-age superhero timeline of fifteen years – five years from the New 52 plus ten years which Doctor Manhattan "stole" – then the DC Comics of the late 1970s fall about halfway through that timeline. That actually makes some sense, considering that Superman and Batman were celebrating their 40th anniversaries in the late '70s and their 80th anniversaries last year and this year. We know that doesn't quite line up, but we kind of like the symmetry.

Ed Raymond, Ronnie's dad, first appeared in April 1978's Firestorm issue #2. This is the first we're hearing that Martin Stein had a son.

Caregiving In Crisis? (Page 30)

heroes in crisis

The "Seneca" quoted on Page 30 is Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a/k/a Seneca the Younger, son of Seneca the Elder (naturally). Born around 4 BC, he died in 65 AD, probably framed for being a conspiracy to assassinate the Roman emperor Nero. He wrote tragedies in addition to his philosophical writings, and was a Stoic philosopher. As it happens, one of the Seneca quotes on the Daily Stoic website reads, "Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness." Reconciling those quotes (or what might be two versions of the same quote) makes us think that Seneca was referring to "kindness" and "crisis" as two sides of the same coin. Every human in crisis is an opportunity for another to be kind. That doesn't exactly play into the very meta use of "crisis" in a DC Comics adventure, but it's good advice nonetheless.

What did you spot in Doomsday Clock #9? Let us know in the comments!

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